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Newark Steampunk Society to host Newark Christmas Steampunk Festival in Newark Market Place, December 9 and 10, attracting visitors from across Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and nationally

This weekend will see the return of the hugely popular Newark Steampunk Christmas Festival.

Thousands of enthusiastic Steampunkers and visitors alike are expected to visit Newark town centre where a Steampunk and Christmas market, entertainment and torchlight parade will be held.

Steampunk is a movement which combines science fiction and fantasy ideas from the era of steam, with Victorian fashion and modern technology, to create imaginative outfits and characters.

Newark’s annual Steampunk Festival, held earlier this year, attracted visitors from far and wide, and the Christmas event is expected to be just as popular.

Parvin Mannering, head of Newark Steampunk Society, said: “We take all of these influences and bend the past to make these crazy outfits.

“We’ve been here in Newark for nine years now. When I took over the group three years ago we had just over 800 members, that’s now grown to 2,700 out of nowhere.

“People come together at these festivals, get to know new people, take part in activities and it’s all about expressing yourself and being happy.

“The feedback we’ve had from the people of Newark is phenomenal, everybody loves it because it’s so vibrant, but the shop keepers benefit too as it brings so many people into town.

“I think the festival has created a new face for Newark which will attract more people to visit and have a look, because the town is so steeped in history it’s frightening and that needs to be celebrated.”

Saturday, December 9, will feature a Victorian and Steampunk market from 10am to 4pm and the society will welcome ticketed guest to an evening gall ball in Newark Town Hall.

But the festival’s big day is on Sunday, December 10, with a dedicated Steampunk and Christmas market featuring over 100 stalls running from 11am to 5.30pm, with entertainment in and around the Market Place throughout the day.

The weekend’s celebrations will be rounded off with the spectacle of a torchlight procession through the town centre from 4.45pm.

Starting on Kirkgate, hundreds of torchbearers and other Steampunkers will parade in their finery along Middlegate, Stodman Street and into the Market Place.

Steampunk Christmas Market and torch procession 2022
Steampunk Christmas Market and torch procession 2022

Parvin said: “We have about 150 torches this year but we’ve had to order another 50 because we’ve had such interest.

“It will be quite the sight to behold and we are the only place in the country that does it.

“It’s absolutely beautiful and it’s pure and simple Newark.”

Parvin says the festival is a welcome place for everybody to come and enjoy themselves and maybe discover a new community.

L-R David Sheridan, Jan Franklin and Margaret Switzer at Steampunk Christmas Market and torch procession 2022
L-R David Sheridan, Jan Franklin and Margaret Switzer at Steampunk Christmas Market and torch procession 2022

“Being a Steampunk is all about being yourself. We create a social environment free of judgment and open to expression,” she said.

“We had something like 1,600 Steampunks turn up to our festival in May, so we predict thousands this weekend too.

“People visit from Scotland, Cornwall and London, but so many from across the East Midlands too.

“What I love the most is we have everyone from lawyers to cleaners but you’d never know, and that complete anonymity brings out your true character.

“So if you’re curious, come and have a look, because if if it’s not for you you will have had a brilliant day.

The event runs alongside the Newark Christmas Tree Festival in Newark Parish Church, where the Steampunk society have designed a tree of their own.

Will you be going? Send us your photos: f.burrows@iliffepublishing.co.uk

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